Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart in the third period, and the New York Rangers beat Philadelphia 4-1 in the playoff opener on Thursday night to stretch their home-winning streak over the rival Flyers to nine games. The teams were locked in a 1-1 tie when Jason Akeson – playing in just his third career NHL game – was given a double high-sticking penalty for clipping Rangers forward Carl Hagelin with 7:35 remaining. New York quickly took advantage. Richards gave the Rangers their first lead of the night when a rebound of Martin St. Louis’ shot came to him, and he fired it in from the right circle, punctuating the moment with an emphatic fist pump at 8:22.
Although one of the worst seasons in Los Angeles Lakers history mercifully ended Wednesday night in San Antonio, the drama around the 16-time NBA champions is never finished. Everybody except Kobe Bryant and general manager Mitch Kupchak is facing the possibility of relocation after the Lakers finished 27-55, the most losses in club history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers’ 72-game season in 1957-58. The changes didn’t begin immediately Thursday when the Lakers began packing up their gear for their longest offseason in nine years. Kupchak and owner Jim Buss have plenty of time to decide how to get the Lakers back on the road to title contention, a process likely to take years after this long-successful team finally fell in spectacular fashion.
Former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper lost his bid Thursday to be released on bail in a sexual assault case after an Arizona judge found there’s enough evidence to move forward with charges against him in that state. Sharper’s lawyers had questioned the evidence authorities are using to justify keeping him in jail in California, where he faces separate charges that he drugged and raped two women in October after meeting them at a West Hollywood nightclub. A California judge had set Sharper’s bail at $1 million but ruled in March that Sharper should remain in jail without bail after the Super Bowl champion was indicted in Arizona on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted two women in November. His lawyers had hoped to win a favorable ruling from the Arizona judge to persuade the California judge to set him free on bail.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched for his country, doing anything he could from afar to lift spirits in South Korea after all the lives lost during a devastating ferry accident.
Carmelo Anthony said he wants to stay in New York, and said he wants to win. It will be up to Phil Jackson to convince him that he can do both. With the Knicks’ season over and Anthony missing the playoffs for the first time in his career, he can begin thinking about his future. The Knicks never came close this season, going 37-45.
A day after Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf took a slap shot to the head, the Ducks had already found the lighter side of a potentially disastrous playoff injury. ”He’s not trying to impress anybody with his face.” Coach Bruce Boudreau was more succinct: ”I didn’t want to look at him,” he said. Nobody in either dressing room was surprised Thursday to learn Getzlaf plans to play against the Dallas Stars in Game 2 on Friday night despite that huge cut on his face. Getzlaf was hit by Tyler Seguin’s shot in the final minute of the Ducks’ 4-3 victory over Dallas on Wednesday night in the series opener, but the puck apparently broke no bones – which means it’ll be almost impossible to keep Getzlaf off the ice.
There’s no bigger long shot in the NBA playoffs than the Atlanta Hawks. Only the 15th team in the last two decades to make the postseason with a losing record, the Hawks (38-44) get started Saturday against the top seed in the East, the Indiana Pacers. Then again, considering all the Hawks have been through, just making the playoffs for the seventh year in a row was quite a feat. The team has almost totally revamped its roster, broke in a rookie head coach, and lost top player Al Horford for most of the season.
Carey Price concedes that failing to protect a pair of third-period leads is not a formula for success in the NHL playoffs. The Montreal Canadiens won the opening game of their series against Tampa Bay without a stellar performance from one of the league’s top goaltenders, and they know they will have to be much better defensively the rest of the way against the young Lightning. Price shared the NHL’s third-best save percentage during the regular season, and then allowed four goals in Tampa Bay’s first 14 shots in Game 1. The Canadiens still managed to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series, with Dale Weise scoring his first career playoff goal for a 5-4 overtime win on Wednesday.
Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb was released Thursday from an Arizona jail after serving a one-day sentence for a DUI arrest late last year. Records released by West Mesa Justice Court show McNabb served his time Wednesday and was released Thursday morning. McNabb, 37, was arrested Dec. 15 on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community east of Phoenix, according to court records. A copy of the citation shows McNabb was stopped on the Loop 101 freeway just after 3 a.m. and radar clocked his Range Rover at 81 mph in a 65-mph zone.